Chemicals & Process

The chemicals industry has experienced an unexpected rebound since the volume and profitability crisis, driven by the streamlining of capacity in Europe and the US combined with very strong demand from emerging economies

Nevertheless, each segment is struggling with its own unique challenges in Europe, including:

  • Petrochemicals: restructuring and cost-cutting, due to the lower competitiveness of crackers
  • Organic chemistry: stable overall, increasingly refined energy management, growth opportunities in environmental sectors
  • Polymers and performance materials: gradual penetration of “green chemicals”, rapid expansion of China expected (now a net importer of many polymers)
  • Intermediaries in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food: gradual penetration of “green chemicals”, end of relocations to low-cost countries (for small volumes)

Incremental improvements (revenues/costs) often initiated by key players have become obsolete. Real breakthrough plans must be implemented to regain/maintain leadership:

  • Definition and execution of external growth strategies in Europe: reconfiguration of European footprints and development in Asia and Latin America, segmentation/streamlining of product portfolio and services, with resources reallocated to more attractive markets from a strategic, commercial and industrial standpoint
  • Innovation and product/technology development, with clear and strong positioning in sustainable development: reduced energy consumption and emissions, resource preservation
  • Differentiation through customer service: identification of what the customer/market really needs, internal plans to meet those needs, creation of breakthrough offers (quality, delivery times, costs), added value across the entire value chain (suppliers, customers, customers of customers)
  • Operational excellence: systematic and structured initiatives across all levers, in order to achieve the standards and best practices of ultra-competitive industries (e.g. automotive, electronics)